Originally Posted by mvito
I was a Junior Engineer on British Gull 1971 in the Indian Ocean. We had a distress message from the steam turbine BP tanker pictured in the attachment, saying they had lost all power. Unfortunately I have
forgotten the name of the tanker. After much discussion, I guess with Britannic House, the Captain agreed to take the strikken tanker in tow.
The other Junior Engineer, and myself, were seconded to board the
vessel, and were lowered in one of our lifeboats with the Chief and some other crew. The deck officer(4th?) managed to lower one end of the lifeboat quicker than the other, and I recall (somewhat exaggerated perhaps) hanging onto the boat at some 45 degrees. Eventually we made the Ocean and headed across to the tanker. I remember being so low on the Ocean that we could see nothing around us at times and only flying fish sparkling across us.
After boarding we went down to the engine room, much different to the diesel rooms I was used to. The ship had lost all power, and when the engineers had tried to start the engine room auxilliary diesel, they found that one of the timing gears had stripped. The Chief returned the the Gull to try and effect a repair on the gear, leaving us Juniors to try and get the fo'castle donkey compressor working. This, too, showed signs of lack of maintenance. As I recall we found one of the big ends failed in this twin diesel. Checking the engineers stores we found brand new parts to effect a repair. I seem to remember working together all night to repair the engine. We fed on melting ice cream, as did the regular crew, who were detailed to bucket seawater to keep for flushing.
We had to return to the Gull next day, before we could test it, but we received a message that our work had resulted in their engineers
starting the engine, returning compressed air to the ship, and thus
reviving the dead ship. Eventually the tow was released, and both ships parted their ways. Some months later I received a bonus as a salvage payment, as the rest of our crew must have, on a sliding scale as I as I understood.
It was an experience which has lasted in my memory, with some
embelishments, for 40 years.
I would be grateful if someone out there could name the ship to complete my memory. I have posted two photos on Gallery, and attached one of them with this post.